There are couple of coins as well-known as the 1943 copper penny, an extremely rare mint error that is worth a lot of money. The 1943 copper Lincoln cent first came to light in the mid-1940s and also quickly took the numismatic civilization by storm. During this time, the United says Mint to be striking pennies native zinc-coated steel planchets. This was to help save copper for people War II ammunition shells. However, a small number of bronze planchets left end from the 1942 production remained in the mint presses. As a result, they were accidentally struck with 1943-dated dies.

The result? A total of maybe 20 come 30 of this 1943 copper cent were produced cumulatively at the Philadelphia, Denver, and San Francisco Mints. Always worth huge money, this error has commanded prices together high as 7 figures. 

Identifying A 1943 bronze Cent

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1943 copper penny

One that the most common questions world ask is, “do I have actually a 1943 copper penny?” among the points of confusion is behind “which” 1943 coin is rare. Many world hear that there is a rare 1943 penny the end there and also therefore assume every 1943 pennies are valuable. Others still confused the 1943 steel penny (pictured below) as the rare coin because of its unusual appearance together a silvery-colored Lincoln cent. But, if steel cent are rather common—more than 1 billion were made across the Philadelphia, Denver, and also San Francisco Mints—it"s the copper 1943 cent that’s rare. 

Here’s just how you deserve to tell the difference in between the typical 1943 stole cent (typically precious 10 cent to $1) matches the 1943 bronze cent:

Does your 1943 penny stick come a magnet? – If the does, the a typical 1943 cent. If that doesn’t, yes sir a possibility it might be the rarely copper penny, however it still should be tested because that authenticity. 

What does your 1943 cent weigh? – A typical 1943 steel cent weighs 2.7 grams, while the rarely bronze one would certainly click in at approximately 3.1 grams. You need to use a scale that steps down to at the very least a tenth-of-a-gram increments. Those cents weighing in increments of a gram will give a false hopeful here since of rounding. 

What about the “3”? – your 1943 copper coin absolutely need to look exactly like a 1943 steel cent in terms of design and the shaping that the letters and also numbers. Any differences right here suggest the coin may have actually been changed to appear as a 1943 copper cent. One of the most common diagnostics is the font of the “3” in the date—it need to exactly enhance the “3” top top a 1943 stole cent. Any kind of differences below on a doubt 1943 copper cent need to send up vast red flags. 


Steel Lincoln Wheat cent

What execute You do If girlfriend Think You have actually A 1943 Copper Cent?

Celebrate a little—but don’t spend all your money quite yet. Girlfriend still have to make sure the coin is authentic! also if the coin you believe to it is in a 1943 copper cent checks out with your very own tests—meaning the is no magnetic and also weighs about 3.1 grams and appears to have an unaltered design (notice all the “ands,” no “ors” here)—then you should think about having it authenticated by reliable third-party grading service. 

You see, the 1943 copper cent isn’t the sort of coin you’ll be able to 100% authenticate on her own. And also if you intend to walk it into your nearest coin shop only to dance out the door five minutes later on with a stash the cold, hard cash in your hands, then you’re regrettably bound to it is in a little bit disappointed. Why? since that’s not exactly how it works through the 1943 copper cent! also if you room sure you have actually the 100% actual McCoy in her hands, there space too many fakes the end there for anyone to buy a 1943 copper cent there is no having complete certainty the it’s authentic. 

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Lincoln cents. Photo: Olichel Adamovich

Almost every day, your typical coin dealer in Anytown, U.S.A. Obtain at the very least one or two calls native an excited individual who has “the” 1943 cent. And what transforms out happening practically every time is the coin winds up being a fake—a 1943 stole cent plated in copper. Or perhaps it’s an changed coin, probably a 1945, 1948, or 1949 Lincoln cent retooled to show up as a 1943. These dealers likewise see many of rusty 1943 cents that “look like” copper come the collector. 

What’s more, even if you have actually a 1943 bronze cent passed under in your household from somebody who was a diehard collector, the doesn’t necessarily median that coin is authentic. Many old-time coin collection are discovered to have actually counterfeit coins the are sophisticated in appearance. This coins can easily sneak previous even plenty of of the much more advanced collectors. Counterfeits, transformed coins, and other fakes are among our hobbies" most far-ranging problems and also have been for a lengthy time. This is partially why third-party coin grading services arised in the 1980s. 

If friend think you have actually a 1943 copper cent—and every little thing checks out v it therefore far, what you can do is lug it come a trustworthy coin dealer for an in-hand inspection. Probably he or she might then aid you in getting it graded by a third-party coin grading company. As soon as the coin is certified together authentic and graded, that dealer may then it is in interested in buying the coin indigenous you. Friend could additionally consider consigning the authenticated coin with an auction company, i m sorry is how plenty of 1943 copper pennies are sold. 

How lot Is A 1943 Copper Cent Worth?

It’s quite literally the million-dollar question! The all-time record price because that a 1943 bronze cent is $1.7 million. This price was paid because that the just known instance of a 1943-D copper penny graded MS64BN by expert Coin Grading Service.

Prices have actually gone means up because that the 1943 copper penny end the years. Earlier in 1981, an instance of the 1943 copper cent made national news when it sold for $10,000. Some 15 years later, one more example sold for $82,500 in ~ a 1996 auction. Today, 1943 copper cents generally fetch in between $100,000 and $250,000. 

Joshua McMorrow-Hernandez is a journalist, editor, and also blogger who has actually won many awards native the Numismatic literary Guild. He has likewise authored numerous books, consisting of works profiling the background of the United states Mint and United states coinage.